The 11+ test in Berkshire

Berkshire 11+ guide for parents
All the facts you need to know about entering your child for the 11+ test for entrance to the Slough and Reading grammar schools.

Which schools require an 11+ pass?

There are six grammar schools in Berkshire, along with one bilateral school: a school that takes all-ability children as well as running a separate grammar school stream, with places allocated on the basis of 11+ results.

Four of the grammar schools are in Slough, and work together as a consortium for admissions (www.sloughconsortium.org.uk), which means they use the same test papers and the same eligibility criteria for selecting pupils. The bilateral school and remaining two grammar schools are in Reading.

What do the tests involve?

The Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools, Kendrick School and Reading School all use the same examination, with children sitting the test on the same day. The test aims to assess the children’s ability in verbal reasoning, numerical and non-verbal reasoning. The examination consists of two separate multiple-choice papers, each lasting about 45 to 50 minutes. Both papers will cover all three areas and the children have to write their answers on a separate answer sheet.

Reading Girls’ School use a different test paper but also assesses children’s skills in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and mathematics, all of which are multiple-choice.

What version of the test is used?

All of the fully selective grammar schools use the CEM 11+ test by the University of Durham. The one bilateral school, Reading Girls, uses GL Assessment tests.

How do you arrange for your child to take the test?

If you are thinking of applying to one or more of the four Slough grammar schools, you need to complete the online registration form which can be accessed from the websites of any of the Consortium grammar schools and return it to your preferred school. As part of your registration form, you will need to have a recent digital photograph of your child ready to upload. Registering your child for the 11+ exam is a separate process from applying for a school place, which you will need to do once you've received their test results. The Consortium website has details of the key dates for admissions. Each of the four schools holds information evenings early in the summer term to explain the 11+ testing process and how to register for the tests, and more detailed information about the arrangements for testing become available in the Spring term when the Slough Consortium Guide to the 11+ Test booklet is updated and made available on each of the schools websites.

Parents who wish their child to sit the 11+ test for any of the Reading schools can complete an online registration form via each of the schools' individual websites. If you're considering applying to schools in both Reading (Reading and Kendrick school only) and Slough, you must read the application form carefully and tick the appropriate statement to request that your child’s scores are shared between the schools. Scores cannot be retrospectively shared between Reading and Slough schools after the standardisation process has taken place; this process takes into account your child's exact age at the time of the test, so that older children are not at an unfair advantage.

Where are the tests held?

There are four examination centres in Slough and your child will be allocated a centre on the basis of their primary school and postcode. The Reading test is held in each individual school.

What is the pass mark?

Competition for the Slough schools is fierce, with all four schools heavily over-subscribed. The tests aim to identify the top 30 per cent of pupils based on their performance in the exam – a score of 111 or greater means that your child falls within this range and is considered suitable for grammar school education. The qualifying standard for the three Reading schools varies; you can find more information about admissions on each of the school’s websites. In both cases, if there are more pupils meeting the qualifying standard than there are places, the schools will apply their own admissions criteria.

How can I help prepare my child?

CEM doesn't release any past or practice papers, and cautions parents against using any commercially available materials, as they may not bear much resemblance to the actual tests. You can obtain a familiarisation booklet from the websites of the Consortium grammar schools, which will give your child a feel of what to expect from the test so they are more prepared for what to expect on the day.

Practice papers to help children applying to Reading Girls’ School, are available to buy from bookshops or online from GL Assessment.